It’s always the little things that make the biggest impact. In our house, calculators have been a big hit. Their use: primarily as faux cell phones, secondarily to help me do long division that I can’t seem to remember how to solve.
Will is a die-hard fan of the calculator. He puts it up to his ear and yells: “HI-EEEE!!!! Pa-pa. Buh-bah!!!” I’m sure Papa can hear him. Whether he understands is a whole ‘nother matter.
Graham did the same thing when he was little, and still enjoys pushing the buttons on occasion. It never occurred to me, though, that I should actually explain to him that a calculator actually has a purpose besides yelling into it backwards, until yesterday.
It was a typical afternoon: Graham was doing basic-addition using a flip-chart (don’t hate, that kid just loves to learn), and Will was having his standard yell-session into the calculator. Will got frustrated that Papa wasn’t talking back to him through the calculator, so he chucked it across the room. It landed at my feet, which is when I had my ah-hah moment. ”Hey Graham,” I encouraged… “check this out.”
I typed in 2 + 2 =… “Four!” Graham explained excitedly. ”Watch this,” I said. I typed in 5 + 3 = …
“Eight! Wow, Mom, that’s amazing! It’s a math-problem-solving calculator!”
Yep. A math-problem-solving calculator.
Since then, he’s been carrying that little calculator around with him everywhere he goes. ”Hey mom! Guess what 100+100 equals? Hey mom, what’s that number? Hey mom, what does that sign mean? Hey mom, the square root of 8 is a really long number.” Seriously, that happened.
So, lesson learned. Next year, forget the remote control car, the build-your-own paper airplane kits, and the dozens of other gifts that we dropped dough on. I can probably just rummage through my desk drawers and wrap up a stapler, a sharpie and a ruler. A length-measuring ruler.